Previous: Egypt....Explained!
Next: Oh, JK Rowling - A Harry Potter Song



View count:370,473
Last sync:2023-08-27 11:30
In which Nerd Factor winner Ben ( thinks the world needs more magic.
Ben: Good morning, Hank! It's Tuesday. Now, if you or any of the Nerdfighters are thinking, "Hey, that's not John Green or a famous YouTuber, I'm MagicTurtle643, 50% of the winners selected for the Nerd Factor contest to fill in for John on his paternity leave. Although I'm pretty sure he only picked me because he loves gingers. That's right, kids, sometimes it pays to be soulless!

But it's okay, because I'm actually a pretty logical replacement for John Green because, like him, I use jump cut jam packed video blogs to put off making progress on my novel, although it's not actually a book I'm supposed to be working on right now. I have to give a lecture on magical realism in exactly a week to fill a grad school requirement, which is kind of like doing a 40 minute video in one take, so let's hope I mess don't up-- uh, don't mess up.

And the lecture's not done. Puff levels are high. (I don't actually run my hands through my hair when I'm stressed; this is a solidarity puff.)

But my lecture topic has got me thinking about magic and the supernatural, and I think the world needs more of it. Not that people need to believe in it, because we know it's all make-believe, but that more people need to make believe it.

The thing I find so amazing about the genre of magical realism is that the story functions like a completely realistic novel, except the author adds supernatural elements and impossible events that break the laws of nature whenever he or she pleases, to add intrigue and originality and symbolic resonance.

This is starting to sound like a grad school lecture. I should probably make a poop joke so this video still fits comfortably on YouTube.

In Sarah Addison Allen's novel The Girl Who Chased the Moon in your pants, a character's ex-husband who is a class D douchebasket used to leave black dust wherever he went. Literally -- like, an ashy powder would be left behind on everything he touched or on the shoulders of the women he wronged, which is like a physical symbol of the messes that hurtful people leave behind -- "proof of his black heart", as his ex-wife says.

And in another one of her books, The Sugar Queen in your pants, this girl Chloe is magically chased around by self-help books that are trying to solve problems in her life. How much would you pay for that privilege?

Now, I'm not saying writers like John Green should ditch the realism stuff, but I just think you can never have too much imagination. Reality is very limited in what we can accomplish, unless you're talking about what the brain can accomplish. We can do whatever we want in movies and books, and everyone just accepts it because pretending! People like Hank teach us the rules of physics, and people like John break them.

Now, I'm not saying I wish real life had real magic. Hm, I guess I am saying that -- I mean, who wouldn't want to turn a stack of Post-Its into a double fudge s'more brownie? (My wife and I made a whole batch of these for no one except ourselves. Four sticks of butter and no regrets.)

But since we can't decrease worldsuck with Harry Potter spells, all we can do is demand more Harry Potter. Harry Potter books are still to this day captivating people with cranial sugar-rushes as we put ourselves into a world where sticks make sparks and candy explodes. Although, to be honest, with having to look out for all those evil dark wizards and the lack of electronics, I think I'd rather be a muggle. I mean, love potions are great, but you can't bottle the amount of love I have for my Nintendo 3DS.

I hope we never stop obsessing over witches and superheroes that shoot lasers from their fingertips, not because it gives us false hope or reminds us how boring our real lives are, but because we should exercise the power to make these things come true. Not just as special effects, I mean like, you know, imagination, which is way better than CGI. Watch -- I'm gonna generate an image with my mind. I'll imagine a face, and watch how realistic it'll look. [eyes and mouth generate] Think I need to update my brain software.

There's one thing I think JK Rowling got wrong in Harry Potter books, and that's that non-magic folk hate magic and are in denial of its existence, which I've never found to be true. When people lose their keys, they don't come up with some logical explanation; they always love to say, "Oh, my keys were stolen by ghosts/gnomes/fairies/pixies/cyborg ninjas," because it's more fun that way.

Again, I'm not saying that we should believe in this stuff, just that it's healthy to fantasize about it. Now, I love science and hard facts and knowledge as much as any Nerdfighter, but I think one of the best pleasures of, say, magicians is not knowing that they perform real magic but knowing that they made something amazing happen in a world where magic is impossible.

And that's what humans are good at, I think. We make amazing things happen in a world where magic is impossible. Now, sadly I can't just say "decreasio worldsuckio" and make everything better, but all it takes is a community of people who love to read about things that never happened and sing songs about magical teenagers to make things a little bit better.

[does the Nerdfighter hand sign] Nerdfighters! [boom!] I think I went overboard on the special effects.

Thanks for watching, and if you wanna see more of me, MagicTurtle643, check out the link in the doobley-doo. Hank, I'll see you on Friday.